A YOUNG WOMAN walks down the street towards an unremarkable terrace house wearing a fetching combination of op-shop style and nonchalance. Her upper lids are lined; her brunette hair falls in layers around her pretty face. She opens the gate, knocks on the door and stands waiting nervously.
A stunning, hard-featured Asian woman in her late thirties answers the door in strappy stilettos and a slinky dress that clings to her petite form. Sleek black hair, parted on the side, hangs down her back and her long painted fingernails are decorated with tiny diamantes. She eyes the girl with a bored, unsmiling expression and speaks to her in a thick accent. ‘I suppose you’re Sara,’ she says. ‘I’m Cassandra.’ She steps aside and ushers Sara in. ‘Wait here. Julia won’t be long.’ Cassandra disappears down the hall and Sara stands in the reception area, unable to escape the image of herself in a huge gilded mirror. She takes in the velvet pink chaise longues and a misting lamp oozing vapour. The lights are down low.
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